Paris: the Glitz and the Grime

Ah, Paris… Just the sound of it conjures images of sophistication, haute couture, and romance. But is Paris really just all about these things? Well, not exactly.

WE’VE LANDED!

Our foray into our Europe began with Paris. For some reason, it had the cheapest flights from Manila, even cheaper than Berlin or Athens which were a lot closer to Manila than Paris. After traveling from Manila for 17 hours, we were tired but eager to explore the city.

Arrival at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. My face says it all.

Arrival at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. My face says it all.

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Flying with Saudi Airlines: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

We booked our Manila-Paris-Manila flights with Saudi Airlines because theirs were the cheapest rates. We got roundtrip tickets for a little less than USD 700 only (about Php 29k). Good deal, right? Or so we thought.

FlightsSaudia

Before finalizing our flight bookings I went to Skytrax to see the reviews about Saudi Airlines. They were mixed. Most people complained that the fleet was too old and the food wasn’t good. But some reviews were actually positive so I figured those negative reviews were just because of “First World Problems.” I was used to flying with Cebu Pacific: no food being served during the flight, no in-flight entertainment, not much leg room, etc.; so I thought Saudi Air couldn’t be much worse.

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Tips on Traveling Europe on a Budget

It goes without saying that you need to save up before any trip (unless you’re rich and have an endless amount of disposable income, in which case, I hate you). Every peso counts. You don’t need that overpriced cup of Starbucks. You don’t need to party every weekend. You don’t need that new cellphone.

It’s all about priority. If travel is not your priority then you will ALWAYS have an excuse to defer it and spend your money elsewhere. I made my travel dreams happen because I desperately wanted them to come true. I was willing to sacrifice everything to be able to afford traveling.

Once you’ve saved up enough money for your trip, it’s time to get things rolling.

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Dream BIG.

I like joining Facebook contests because you don’t really lose anything by joining. Some contests only require you to “Like” a post or make a comment then you are automatically eligible to win a prize.

This happened to me twice for the same specific prize: concert tickets to one of my favorite bands, We Were Evergreen.

There was just one catch: the gigs were in London.

I joined the contest because I didn’t really expect to win. The gig was four days away when I entered the contest just by commenting on a post. I think it was a day later when they announced the winner.

wwe1 contest

And I was like:

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Europe on a Shoestring: 24 Days, 6 countries, 8 cities for less than P120,000

You don’t have to be rich to travel to Europe. You just need discipline and tons of research to make the trip possible.

There was an article posted on ABS-CBN that claimed P55,000 was enough for a 5-day trip to Paris. But in my opinion, this budget can still be scaled down provided you don’t mind sleeping in hostels and getting food from the supermarket. This could mean sharing a bathroom with 10 other travelers and eating cold food with a plastic fork, but I really didn’t mind. I still had the best adventure of my life during my 24-day stay in Europe.

We found a really cheap roundtrip flight for Manila-Paris-Manila last July 2013 and booked it right away for fear of the fares getting higher by the day. We still haven’t applied for the Schengen visa then, but we figured it was worth the risk. This also gave us ample time to save up for the trip, which wouldn’t happen until March 2014.

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Applying for a China Tourist Visa in the Philippines (2010)

china1

I was invited by my Japanese friend to visit the 2010 World Expo that was held in Shanghai, China. This was in mainland China so I needed a tourist visa to enter the country.

Applying for a Chinese Visa was quite easy if you don’t mind waiting. From what I remember I just submitted the application form together with the necessary documents directly to the Visa Center of the Embassy of China.

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